Training: On “doing it anyway”

I really didn’t want to swim and lift today. Part of it: just mental laziness.

Swimming: I decided to just “do what I want” so:

1000 free (moderate pace). Ok, I tried my best to keep from getting lapped by that young woman…couldn’t do it. :-)
Then: I remembered seeing how terrible the old farts look in the pool (the ones that just swim straight laps) so I forced myself into some intervals:

5 x 200 on the 4: 3:24, 3:24, 3:24, 3:22, 3:21 The last two were ok; I raced that young woman again..and got whipped. :-)
Note: when I was swimming my best (PR for the 5K), I was doing these in 3:10-3:13. I am a bit off of that.

Then 4 x (25 fly, 25 back) with fins. Hey, 2200 yards is better than 0 yards.

After class: weights. Note: prior to swimming, I weighed in 180.0 lbs.

rotator cuff, Achilles, hip hikes, McKenzie, planks.
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (painful and difficult, but I got over that bar each time)
bench: 10 x 135, 2 x 180, 2 x 180, 9 x 160 (mental block about 10?)
military: 10 x 40 lb. dumbbells (standing), 2 sets of 10 x 45 dumbbells (standing), my elbows didn’t straighten. So at the end: 10 x 85 barbell (full reps)
rows (Hammer): 3 sets of 10 x 210
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160

note: my right forearm/elbow was too sore to do curls, seated military presses or upright rows. The other exercises were ok.

April 23, 2014 Posted by | swimming, weight training | , | Leave a comment

running on empty…

Workout notes
swim: 2 x 250
5 x 100 (alt fist/free) on the 2 (mostly 1:52
10 x 100 (25 side, 75 free) on the 2:05 (mostly 1:55)
200 (fins, alt fly/back)

After class: weights:
rotator cuff, Achilles, hip hikes
5 sets of 10 pull ups
incline press: 2 sets of 10 x 140, 4 x 150
military press (barbell): 3 sets of 7 x 85
curls: 10 x 30 dumbbell (forearm pain), 10 x 45 bar, 7 x 65 bar, 10 x 70 machine
Hammer Machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 210
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160

Classes: I am into the dreary “numerical linear algebra” part and into the “having to push the students” in my remedial class. Two more weeks….

Note: the numerical linear algebra stuff is important. But it sometimes comes across as a bunch of “special cases”.

Upside: though we’ve had rain today, early today: I wore NO COAT when I walked to the gym.

April 21, 2014 Posted by | swimming, weight training | | Leave a comment

Progress and regression

I decided at the last moment to do a least a race billed as a 5K.

Day: crisp (40′s, breezy, sunny), though I felt warm when I started my warm up.
Course: flat; some wind. But it was a bit short; the Garmins that I saw got 2.96 to 3.02 miles; I’ll go with 2.96 though I might believe 3 miles. Garmins tend to read short.

Splits: 7:38 (wind aided), 7:55 (realistic), 7:55 (realistic for 1 mile, NOT for 1.1). Total: 23:27 (chip), which grades to 24:41 for 5K. Pace: 7:56. How I knew that I was doing better: I actually had a small lead on Dianne who got me back at the very end and she is usually 24:xx for this distance (around 24:30) and I was drawing a bead on Jerry Kolb; I could close on neither. Still I finished 37 out of 257 overall, and 25 out of 104 men.

The course did feature several hairpin turns (I counted 4 total) that slowed you down a bit.

When we started off, I told myself to calm down and enjoy the light show (the sun was behind us and the feminine spandex just shimmered…:-) )

I was unprepared to see people on their way back so quickly, but you do arrive at the first hairpin turn fairly quickly (half mile/800 meters?). I was even more shocked to see people behind me.

As we passed mile one we came to an intersection and I could see runners off to the left. We were told to “go straight” and so we did; we followed the signs. It turns out that the group in front of us had gone the wrong way (no direction) and evidently they went in a loop(?)…full loop…opposite direction.


I was gaining on people who were fading and picked out Jerry and Dianne. I didn’t get them at mile 2 (15:33); the wind was now in our face. It wasn’t bad, but it was noticeable.

I finally moved on Dianne but she was to get me near the finish line. I was feeling “bad” but within reason; once again I didn’t attack the pain.

Afterward, I chatted, went to a path to walk a cool down, drove home, got a quick bite to eat and then hit the weight room.

There seems to be a rule when I lift after a 5K race: the better the race, the worse my lifting.

I did the following (more machines than normal)

pull ups: 5 sets of 10; first sets were weak; latter ones were better.
rotator cuff
rows: Lifefitness machine: 3 sets of 10 x 90
abs: 3 sets of 10 of twist, sit back, crunch
bench: 10 x 135, 9 x 160, 7 x 160
military: I couldn’t even swing the dumbbells into position, so I used the Hammer Machine: 3 sets of 10 x 140 (70 each arm)
curls: machine: 3 sets of 10 x 70
pull downs: Lifefitness machine, 3 sets of 10 x 150

I did NOT do upright rows (sore forearm/elbows)

This year’s 5K-ish distance results:

19 April: 23:27 2.96 (24:40 5K, or 23:45 3 mile)
5 April 22:31 (2.8 miles) 25:05 5K
29 March CIDA 25:09 5K
1 March: 27:27 for 3.25 miles: 26:10 5K.

April 19, 2014 Posted by | running, time trial/ race, weight training | | Leave a comment

On getting “Girled” or “Chicked”…..


The following Facebook meme made me chuckle. I’ve heard it called “getting girled”. Basically: this is what happens when a male track team member gets beaten by a female.

In sports like swimming and track and field (e. g. “athletics”, which includes running and race walking), this concept really only makes sense for the stronger male competitors.

There WAS a time in my life when, on rare occasion, I might finish ahead of the first female. This only happened at small, local races. It isn’t that much of a surprise; after all, if one looks at the results of high school track meets, sometimes, in a dual meet between small schools, the girl’s mile is won in a time over 5:30. That is a time I could run…a long time ago. So could many other in shape “workout bros”.

But now that I’ve gotten older, when one takes into account age and sex, I can compete on even terms with females in the 36-40 year old age group. Hence my natural advantage is gone and I don’t even think about trying to mix it up with the faster women; about the only time I notice them is when they are cooling down on the course and I am finishing up.

Frequently, even the older ladies beat me (example:)


Now sometimes, a woman will show up at a local race and beat everyone; this happened at the Galesburg Half Marathon in June 2012.

And in the longer events: ultra walker Sandra Brown has frequently beaten the entire field in a 24 hour walk; she did that in 2004 at the Wandelweekend in the Netherlands.
That was merely one of many “outright victories” for her.

In ultra swimming: Peggy Lee Dean and Lynn Cox both held the human record for the English Channel Crossing (at one time).

But in the vast majority of races where there are no outliers (e. g., an elite showing up at a non-elite race), the male winning time will be better than the female winning time.

And the concept of getting “girled” or “chicked” has never applied to me in running, walking or swimming. I simply am not good enough for it to have ever mattered.

Now in the weight room: When it comes to pull ups and, say, the bench press, there are women who can exceed what I do but they tend to be outliers (e. g. perhaps a shot putter at a Division I university would out bench me…and I mean “real” bench pressing, not that “bench shirt” stuff). And plenty of women can do more pull ups than I can (think: gymnasts) but they also tend to be moderate outliers; you tend to not see them at the places where I work out. You’d see them at gyms that cater to the more athletic crowd.

April 17, 2014 Posted by | running, ultra, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Not one of my better workout days

I was just a bit tired and off. Not terrible. Just a bit off.

Swim: 2 x 250 (alt fist/free)
5 x (25 catch up, 75 free)
4 x (100 drill/swim (fins), 150 free). Chased the young woman.
4 x (25 fly, 25 back).

Later: weights.
rotator cuff, hip hikes, Achilles, side plank, McKenzie
pull ups: 5 x 10 (last set was better)
incline: 8, 7, 8 x 140 (weak)
military (dumbbell) 3 sets of 12 x 50
curls: 10 x 25, 2 sets of 10 x 30 (dumbbell)
upright rows: 2 sets of 10 x 25 (forearm pain, right arm), 10 x 35 pulley (less pain)
Hammer rows: 3 sets of 10 x 210
pull down: 3 sets of 10 x 160.

I just had very little energy, though the amount of weight that I used wasn’t that off.
But, I have to remember: I had good days on Saturday (half marathon), Monday (swimming: 100′s) and yesterday (26:06 solo 5K with 7:50 for the final mile). So I was due for a down day.

April 16, 2014 Posted by | swimming, weight training | Leave a comment

Finally: some progress in swimming

I haven’t lifted yet (will catch a quick 40-50 minutes in between classes at the university gym).

But I did swim.

500 warm up (easy)
5 x 100 on the 2 (alt 25 fist, 25 free). The idea: swimming a length with closed fists encouraged to pull with a “high elbow” and use the forearm area. Mostly: 1:47-1:50 (one slow one)
10 x 100 on the 2: first 5 were 1:41-1:42; next 5 were all under 1:40 (1:37-1:39). That is my best set in a long, long time (2-3 years?)
100 back (fins)
4 x 25 fly (fins)

Yes: the 10 x 100 set would be glacially slow compared to what a good swimmer could do, and back in 2008-2009 even I was doing them much faster than that. But it is a “recent best” for me, which indicates that my body is adjusting to swimming.

Later: weight training: Achilles, hip hikes, rotator cuff, McKenzie, planks

pull ups: 5 sets of 10
bench: 10 x 135, 2 x 180, 2 x 180, 9 x 160
military (standing, barbell) 10 x 85, 7 x 85, 7 x 85
dumbbell upright row: 3 sets of 10 x 25
dumbbell curl: 3 sets of 10 x 30
Hammer row: 3 sets of 10 x 210
pull down: 3 sets of 10 x 160

This wasn’t my worst.

April 14, 2014 Posted by | swimming, weight training | | Leave a comment

Too much? I don’t care…

It was my intention to take it easy today, and in terms of effort: yes.
swim: 4 x 250 (slow…5:05! then the rest were 4:45)
6 x 100 (alt fist/free) on the 2:05 (1:55 each)
200 in 3:45
6 x (25 fly, 25 back) with fins
100 IM

Not much effort.

Weights (after my 9-10 class):
hip hikes, rotator cuff, Achilles, McKenzie.
pull ups: 2 x 15, 2 x 10 (strong)
military presses: 3 sets of 12 x 50 (seated, supported)
dumbbell upright rows: 3 sets of 10 x 25
dumbbell curls: 3 sets of 10 x 30
Hammer Machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 210
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160
incline presses: 2 sets of 10 x 135 (had to work)
dumbbell bench press: 1 set of 10 x 70

I had enough; still this was 45-50 minutes.

Tomorrow’s Half Marathon: I am walking; I don’t know what to expect. I’ll “just walk” and not worry about splits; the idea will be to “not kill myself” and get a baseline to base a walking marathon goal off of.

April 11, 2014 Posted by | swimming, weight training | 3 Comments

Swimming: technique dependent …..

One of the weird things about swimming: in running, being in some semblance of shape is important. For example, if someone who ran a 4:20 mile in college decided to couch potato it for a while and, say, gain 50 pounds, well, their first time out, their running will be a disaster. Even I would be able to beat them…for a while. Then they would get in shape…and game over.

But in swimming: I’ve seen guys so fat that their bellies hung over their speedo and their bellybuttons pointed at the ground. But in the water…at least for a little while….BAM. They just lap me repeatedly and easily.

The reason: swimming is highly technique dependent. So, sure, they wouldn’t be able to beat a good swimmer, but beating the likes of me: no sweat.

I got a brief reminder of that today.

500 warm up (9:30)
5 x 100 on the 2 (1:41-1:42 at first..then increased to 1:46?)
5 x 100 on 2, alternating fist/free: 1:46-1:47 each (???)
5 x 100 on 2, 1:40-1:42.
200 with fins, alternating back/fly

That middle “fist” set seemed to smooth things out and I was better.

Later I got in a longer lifting workout. I had intended a brief 30-40 minute session and it grew to 65 minutes:

Supplemental: hip hikes, Achilles, rotator cuff, McKenzie, planks (these take some time)
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (strong, varied the grip)
incline: 2 sets of 10 x 140, 4 x 150
dumbbell superset: military: 12 x 50 (3 sets), curl: 10 x 30 (3 sets), upright row 10 x 25 (3 sets)
pull-down: 2 sets of 10 x 150 “other machine”, 10 x 160
rows (“other machine”), 10 x 110 (3 sets)
3 sets of twists, sitbacks, weighted crunches.

April 9, 2014 Posted by | swimming, weight training | | Leave a comment

1000 yd swim: not what I wanted to hear….

Workout notes
500 warm up.
1000: I used the pace clock and attempted to keep track of my laps in 5 lap increments. 18:40. Not what I wanted to hear….but probably accurate.

In short: that 1000 was at a slower pace than I did the 2008 Big Shoulders open water 5K. But, I’ve been away for a while and it will take more swimming and more time for some of it to come back. And that was 5.5 years ago….

I finished with 200 back (fins), 8 x 50 on the 1 (25 fist, 25 free; mostly 50 but one 53), 50 fly drill, 2 x 25 fly (fins)

Then later: weights. I added two sets of abs (twist, back extend, crunch), planks (front, side) and McKenzie as well as rotator cuff, Achilles and hip hikes.

pull ups: 15, then 4 sets of 10
dumbbell military (3 sets of 12 x 50)
dumbbell upright row (3 sets of 10 with 25)
dumbbell curl (3 sets of 10 x 30)
dumbbell bench: 3 sets of 10 x 70
Hammer Machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 210
pull down: 3 sets of 10 x 160.

My left shoulder (tip of deltoid) is oh-so-slightly sore and “clicky”; it would be weather too. No more straight 1000′s for a while. I need to stick to 100′s and 200′s until my body position improves.

April 7, 2014 Posted by | swimming, weight training | | Leave a comment

I CRUSHED my recent 5K run time today….but….

Today I ran the Kappa Delta 5K and CRUSHED my recent 5K time finishing in 22:31, which is my fastest time since 2002 and 2:30 faster than I’ve done over the past 3 years! But…….


Yes, this is the course map. The usual campus 5K course is the blue plus the red…today we ran only the blue.

So, let’s look at this logically:

The case for the course being accurate:
1. I want it to be.

The case for the course being short:
1. The Garmin measurements I’ve heard were 2.78, 2.8, 2.8 and Google maps got it at 2.82.

2. My time at the known 2 mile mark was 15:56 and I finished 6:36 later…6:36 for 1.1 miles?

3. If this course really were 2.8 miles, then according to the usual time conversion formulas, an equivalent 5K time would be 25:05 (I ran 25:09 last weekend) and my mile would be 7:13 (I ran 7:17 solo last week).

4. According to the above map, this course cut off about 0.3 miles off of the “usual” 5K course.

5. Last week’s 5K ended with a “lap around the block” because the course without the lap would have been 4.5 km. Hence we passed the finish clock twice…and when I saw it the first time it was: 22:3x…just like today.

So, after weighing the evidence: this was a real 5K. :-) (just kidding)

I was ok with my pace (8:02 minutes per mile) though I really, really want 7:5x.
I didn’t have any kick left and got passed by a student right at the finish line.

The day: sunny…clear, cool (40′s) though there was too much auto traffic on the course.

Still, I felt reasonably good at mile 2 and slowed by 7 seconds over the past .8 miles. I could feel my turn over slowing a bit; I need to concentrate more.

I got to see Bill and Andy there; that was nice. Though there were a few other “older” people there, this was mostly students and I’d like to work on finishing further up in this crowd.

Afterward: I walked to get a cool down, jogged a bit, then lifted weights:

rotator cuff, hip hikes, Achilles, McKenzie
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (no energy, but these were good pull ups)
bench press (pathetic): 10 x 135, 9 x 160, 8 x 160
upright rows: 3 sets of 10 x 25 dumbbells
military press (standing, barbell): 10 x 85, 7 x 85, 8 x 85
curls: 3 sets of 10 x 30 (dumbbell)
Hammer Machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 210
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160

I had low, low energy throughout.

Then I had Indian lunch with Barbara and a new friend.

I might check out the McNaughton (er…Potawatomi ) runs later this weekend and maybe pace someone tomorrow morning.

This year:

5 April 22:31 (2.8 miles) 25:05 5K
29 March CIDA 25:09 5K
1 March: 27:27 for 3.25 miles: 26:10 5K.

April 5, 2014 Posted by | running, weight training | | 1 Comment


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